While we tend to think solely of lovers asÂ potential recipients of our written expressions of love, we should not exclude our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends when setting pen to paperÂ (or fingers to keyboard, but more on that later). Love letters can be familial or erotic. They canÂ simply touch the tip of the icebergÂ or passionatelyÂ scour the depths of the sea.
In her concise and entertaining book, For the Love of Letters, a 21st Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing, Samara O'Shea tells us "There is no formula for love letters" but she generously offers the following suggestions (and more) that can ease this otherwise often-daunting task:
- Get right to the point.
Start with one quick sentence (e.g., "There is something I simply must tell you.")
- Bring on the adjectives.
If you first list some things you love about the recipient of your letter, you will have plenty of descriptive words to "wrap a few sentences around."
- Disguise your letter.
If you're shy about expressing your love, express your gratitude which will undoubtedly be well received.
- Ask questions.
O'Shea findsÂ clever rhetorical questions an easy way to flatter your lover - or your mother. (Example: "Could you be any sweeter?")
- Fake 'em out.
For instance a sentence that begins "You, for some reason,Â find it necessary to distract me from work..." can be followed by the complimentary "Thank you for doing that!" or simply "I love that about you."
- Counteract the cliches.
Instead of "I love your smile," try "Your smile is my favorite distraction..."
- Have fun.
No one is in trouble here; it's all good.
Both your salutation and sign-off can be as creative as your imagination allows. "Dear Joe" can be just as nice as "To my dearest." Similarly, "With love" might be equally as well received as "Dying to see you again." It merely depends on to whom you are writing and what the two of you are like.
Many of us have written lovingÂ notes to our children, friends and parents. But gifting an erotic letter to a sweetheart or spouseÂ often sows the seeds of the most pleasant rewards. In For the Love of Letters, O'Shea provides a racy example of just such a letter. (Consider yourself forewarned here; I do mean racy.) Writing an erotic letter yourself is easier than you think when you follow O'Shea's guidelines:
- Be specific. Appeal to all the five senses.
- Sign off appropriately. (O'Shea likes "Restlessly.")
- Only use email if you are recreating the previous day/night and want to send it immediately but not to a business email account!
O'Shea admits "lean[ing] toward mixing sweet analogies with inappropriate ones (for example, "You are stately as a palm tree....and your breasts are like its clusters..."Â Â Song of Solomon) but advises that only you know what is appropriate for your lover. Maybe that means pornography - but maybe it means Keats or Browning and you don't want to get that wrong!
If all else fails, for a reasonableÂ feeÂ O'Shea will write a love letter - or any other kind - for you via her website LetterLover.net. I suggest firstÂ trying the steps in her book which, incidentally, is full of wonderful quotes and anecdotes that are sure to get your creative juices jumping.
It worked for meÂ (but that's all I have to say about that)!